Review: Anakana Schofield on Clarice Lispector
Every book ever opened could be considered literary companionship, but I discovered Too Much of Life, the elephantine collection of Clarice Lispector’s newspaper columns (crônicas) to be a truly sustained one. I consumed it over six to eight months in various time zones and in three forms: a physical copy of the bible-sized book, a searchable e-book, and multiple dives to the entire audiobook, until in my unique barmy befuddlement I combined reading it and listening to it simultaneously. Perhaps the only other document I’ve felt this comforted by was the annotated catalogue of books Jorge Luis Borges donated to the National Library in Buenos Aires.
Clarice Lispector, a culturally Jewish Brazilian, was born in Chechel’nyk, Ukraine, in 1920. In 1977, she died from inoperable ovarian cancer and the years since have seen her work, long celebrated and revered in her native Portuguese, enthusiastically discovered, thanks to translators and independent publishers, by later-to-the-gate readers in the anglophone world. Her geographically diverse advocates are possessive and prone to disagreement. Anyone who reads Too Much of Life will find this kind of possessiveness amusing, because its seven hundred pages is confirmation that the only person who could possibly possess Clarice is the good woman herself.
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